Friday, May 1, 2009

The Clergy Letter Project

by Jon Cleland-Host

The Clergy Letter Project was started in 2004 by Dr. Michael Zimmerman (photo left) in response to creationist successes at the local (Wisconsin) school board.  Working with local Christian clergy, a letter was drafted confirming the compatibility between Christian religion and evolution.  The letter was signed by 200 Christian clergy and delivered to the local school board, contributing to their reversal of the creationist polices.  After this initial success, the Clergy Letter Project went nationwide, quickly gathering thousands of signatures from Christian clergy.  As the movement has grown, “Evolution Weekend” was introduced (the weekend closest to Darwin’s Birthday February 12th) as a focal time for congregations to address the need for understanding evolution.  The website (Google it) has expanded to include over 200 sorted example sermons, free scientific consultants, news releases, and articles.  The next article is a report on Evolution Weekend 2009 by Dr. Zimmerman.

In the weeks leading up to Darwin’s 200th birthday this past February, several of us discussed and implemented projects of various sizes to support the event.  My contributions were sorting the sermons for the Clergy Letter Project (see their article in this issue), working with Connie Barlow to put together a Darwin Day service packet for UU ministers, and to supply five sample letters to the editor to use as input for writing to local newspapers about Darwin Day.  With the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species coming this fall, there soon will be more opportunities for all of us to help others find the joy and purpose that an evolutionary worldview brings.

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